Kaduna State Government will be the first subnational in Nigeria to commence delivery of medical supplies by drones to remote or hard-to-reach areas before the end of this year.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai who made this promise in a media chat, assured that the first delivery site will be located in Pambegua and that the building has already been completed.
According to him, Kaduna state is still discussing with security agencies and aviation authorities for clearance before the deployment of the medical supply drones.
El-Rufai also disclosed that Zipline, the United States-based company which will operate the service, is already training Kaduna state citizens in Ghana to operate the drones.
The governor said that apart from the Pambegua delivery site, the drone delivery service will operate in two other sites, covering the entire state.
‘’The drones will be delivering medical supplies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from three distribution centers,’’ he said, adding that ‘’each centre will be equipped with 30 drones.’’
According to El-Rufai, the drone service can deliver medical consumables like essential medicines, blood and vaccines to more than 1,000 health facilities serving millions of people across Kaduna state.
“Bottlenecks like bad roads, expiry of products due to overstocking, unavailability of medical commodities at health facilities during emergencies and products not getting to remote areas, will all be minimized when Zipline’s facilities commence operations,’’ he promised.
It will be recalled that Kaduna State Government and Zipline signed an MoU in February 2021 to revolutionalise the supply of medical consumables to health facilities and the response of medical personnel to emergencies.
KDSG had promised that it will overhaul medical supplies, in collaboration with Zipline which operates the largest medical drone supply facility in the world at Ghana.
The government promised that the use of technology is ‘’part of the government of Kaduna state’s bold vision of using drone delivery to establish universal, seven-days-a-week access to lifesaving and critical medicines for most of its citizens over the coming years.’’
Kaduna State Government promised that Zipline will also create jobs, apart from providing the immediate benefits of reducing fatalities and expanding access to routine and emergency supply of medical consumables.
‘’A lot of people from the community will be employed by Zipline. The company will only look outside where there is no available manpower within the community,’’ he added.